tv White House Chronicles WHUT July 23, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
we'd love to go green, love to stop global warming, love to get rid of dirty ways of making dirty energy and 30 transportation, but is a green future just around the corner? i am not so sure. the fact is, i have loved electra cars for many decades. i just wish we had a factory that could really deliver. the fact is, the lithium ion batteries are much better than the old ones, but not perfect. the new generation of cars with next year will be in the show room and you can buy one. you can buy one for summer between $25,000 and $35,000. a lot of tax breaks and credits encourage you to buy one, but be very careful. that may still not equal freedom
from gasoline. 40 miles on electric and then at the gasoline engine comes on. this is not a hybrid. but it is encouraging because it is able to recharge as you go. the fourth focus -- the ford focused, among others, is not so good. they say that you can drive up to 100 miles on a charge. "up to," what does that mean? does that mean that when you are heading toward the cold mountains with the heater on, will aid make it up the mountain? he will not get 100 miles, i can
assure you. there is a long way to go and there's a lot of federal money in this. we will have to see. i hope it works, but we will have to see whether there is any demand. my suggestion, go half way. do not, as the president said, let the good be eclipsed. go halfway. it takes a while for technologies to mature. i am not sure that today's batteries are ready. i'm going to introduce you to one of the most fabulous people i have met in recent times. you are going to be so excited. this is a thinker and author and a delightful woman. we will be right back and he will be introduced to her and you will be riveted by what she has to say, i am sure. >> white house chronicle is
produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. and our program hosts, nationally syndicated columnist, llewellyn king, and coast, linda gasparello. -- co-host linda gasparello. >> hello, i promise you our guest, and here she is. persius janine wedel and she is -- she is janine wedel and she is very embarrassed by what i've just said. she has written one of the most engrossing books i have read in a long time, and that is this book "shadow really elitbelieves about these shadow
organizations, groups of people that really run the world nowadays. >> it is about a new system of power and influence that has been measured in through the past -- that has been ushered in through the past several decades. some of the players that we see on television, for instance, who are influencing policy and everything from national security -- >> let me assure you, i do not influence anything. >> [laughter] in all of the arenas of our lives -- because the new power broker has changed in the past several decades. and for example, the people that we might see on television announcing on what we should do about iraq or afghanistan or the health care policy or the economy are actually playing
many more roles than they used to play in the past. and we cannot know what they are. >> the several agendas. been >> -- >> not revealed by them and not revealed by the tv shows that are putting them on. and this is not bipartisan. >> let's talk about what i used to do, people who went to great universities and became authors and then slid naturally into politics. there were all from new england. they have the same background, the same prejudices, etc. that is all gone. something quite different takes place now. there are very different players. >> some of the elites are still with us in various ways, but
there is a new way to influence if you are one of the top people. that has to do, in part, with some much more of government actually being outside -- so much more of governing being outside of formal government. what you have are these players who are in think tanks and working for consultative government and business and working across the rules. >> you yourself must be a member of the lead because you are a member of a think tank in -- of the heat because you are a member of a think tank in washington -- you yourself must be a member of the elite because you are a member of a think tank and you are in washington. you think of yourself that way? >> there is a difference between the players that i think are
dangerous to being accountable and democracy that i write about in the book. we in the public do not and have a way to know what they are up to. they are not revealing, and the fact that they have agendas that serve their interests and the interests of their allies. that is the difference. >> you are very critical, very critical of the nielsen conservatives in your book. some of the people who do not come out of this book very well have sat at this table. and this is washington. i am a journalist. you believe the small elite through shadow organizations have their own letterhead. >> oh, letterhead organizations -- what has happened is over about a 30-year timeframe, there
is a group at the core. >> i wonder if we can pick this up on the camera. keep talking. >> it shows the interconnectedness of a very small circle of people centered around richard a squirrel as the linchpin. >> there is senator jackson, a registered democrat and there is a right wing conservative. and someone who has been on the show, and i treat him as a friend. he was very instrumental in this country in the iraq war, and in the bush administration. very close to rumsfeld and others. is that a fair description? >> absolutely, and what i show in the book is that is not about their views or their ideology.
it is about their ways of operating that are beyond democratic control, that are beyond the visibility of voters in government. what they do is they put their various people in positions in and out of government and they work together. and they share information. and in 1996, they set up a whole series of organizations, some of them called letter had organizations, to help change american foreign policy in the middle east. they have been working toward their own views, getting across their own views of american foreign policy in various ways for 30 years now. and they did it first around the soviet union, to have the united states adopt a much more specific policy toward the
soviet union. again, they were instrumental in helping set up a group of organizations that would pressure the government. and they work through these quasi governmental agencies and affiliations and converts standards of operation in government. for example, in the run-up to the war in iraq, there were structures that were created in the defense department that actually undermined the usual government processes, to hear people tell it to who were in the national security council, the department of defense, the state department and so on. they undermined the usual bureaucracy as far as the ways of usually doing so. >> are they managed by these people? or they simply unaware that they have been reduced to a lump of coal at times? >> i think that people who have worked with members of these
groups are aware, because they are telling me that this is what is happening in the interest -- has happened in the national security council and in the department of defense. i think people working around them are aware that there is something going on that is different, that a different dynamic has taken place. bureaucracy is being in formalized. things are not working the way they used to work. but they are not aware of the extent of the interactions within the network. and this is not a conspiracy. this could be -- a social anthropologist has been charting these networks, describing how these processes work, showing a new system of doing things. >> i am not sure what a social anthropologist is, but first i would like to give a shout out to channel 110 and 130 and
listen to 9 3:00 a.m. on saturday -- listened at 9:30 a.m. on saturday. we have forces that are very prominent in their positions in washington, pushing toward certain goals. much in the way, i might say so, without squandering it, it in the way that the old fashioned convert -- communists did. >> yes, and in fact, this is a very specific way of organizing a network. the same network keeps coming up, the same people keep coming up in different incarnations.
>> let's talk about harvard and the affect of people around larry summers, who is a professor of harvard, became president of harvard and was the chiefq president. tell us, what was the harvard -- what was the deal between harvard and russia and the collapse of communism? >> what i began to uncover when i first started going to russia in the 1990's and you may remember that i spent many years in poland earlier to try to understand how people function under communism, how you get around the system to survive when you cannot get what are supposed to be basic goods. >> their isikoff -- there is a a
chapter where you are at an apartment in warsaw and these three women charmed the police for survival. and of course, the police expect to be charmed. it is part of the modus operandi of the police. >> yes, and what you do in a situation where you have no recourse? i remember at 3:00 a.m. there is a knock on the door at the apartment i am staying and the woman i of renting the room from says, stay in your room. i stay in my room and i begin to get that something is going on. i put my rove on and eventually, -- put my robe on and eventually her daughter, ella, comes to me.
she has her arm around a policeman and she draws up corrode and says, oh, janine, -- and she draws up her robe and says, oh, jenny, you have the advantage because the best looking one of all is going to search your room. what point in my making in telling this story? that is improvisation and the rules of the game, playing with their rules are the same kinds of skills that i saw under the very severe environment that today's power brokers use in order to not survive in this case, but to thrive. they are constantly using,
taking advantage of new opportunities and creating new affiliations in order to carve out these multiple roles. >> let's go back to the world is overrun now with rich russians who are seen in their rush to privatize, and of course, harvard plays a role. they are busy buying of houses around the world. >> what happened was, i have studies, networks in poland and eastern europe, and then i began
studying what went on when the foreign aid and the millions of dollars of loans and technical advisers came in -- you know, what happened in russian and polish society. i went to russia and i discovered something very interesting. the same people were running just a few organizations. it was the same group of people running a variety of organizations having to do with economic reforms, privatization, creating a new legal system. those people were a joint, transnational network made up of harvard educated, a prominent people. and it was a key person under
boris yeltsin. >> should i tell people that you went to stanford? >> i went to berkeley. [laughter] what i saw was that wherever i went and interviewed people in these organizations that have hundreds of millions of dollars to coordinate and were also associated with the russian government, i say, who is really influential? you know, after things were winding down, i would ask questions like that. and it turned out, oh, andre schleicher, jonathan haggis, the same names kept coming up. >> and around the world, they do not know the people you and i
know, who they are. what about our education system? so many people going to college produces this 40% of the country come up with them into this elite that the other 60% -- 40% of the country, puts them into this elite that the other 60% cannot penetrate. certainly, people going to university are educated, whether they are going to harvard or to berkeley. >> [laughter] >> do you see the parameters established by agenda?
>> yes. >> these are established by agenda. >> that is right. and the agenda is still the one i described to you as they were in my description about the polish mother and daughter. it is a different model of a power broker. we no longer have the stable deletes. we may have a stable, but those are not the power brokers. the power brokers are people who are much more mobile. they move around. they have these overlapping roles and the key is information. in my role as an adviser to the government on the defense policy board, for example, i glean information that i can use on tv and that i can use in my
defense consulting business, and nobody knows where that information comes from. and yet, i have my own agenda, so when i am on tv spelling out my own agenda -- in fact, what i am saying is i am a retired general. the problem is that the public has no way of knowing who these people are. >> less -- and less ways of having more opinions. >> that is right. it is called true thing. -- truthing. it is a lovely term coined by steven colbert, a late night comedians. it enables people to play with their identity and to play with their appearances in ways that
one could never do in the past, and to actually get away with it. the idea is, if enough people actually believe something, it becomes true. >> and there are people that are appealing to this idea that perception is reality. >> and of course, it is not. >> and it is like looking through a store window. >> a very good point. we have moved away from a fact- based world and investigative journalism, it is troubled, to say the least. and we have so much more governing that his contract it
out. governmental functions are being done by private organizations. the information is controlled not by government and not by people as much as it used to be, but by players who can connect the dots and be in the think tanks. just as a reason example in health care, tom daschle, he was of course renouncing about health care policies -- pronoun's thing about health care policies for barack obama. he was also before the kind -- congress. and yet, who was here representing when he was in those meetings because he is also involved in the pharmaceutical industry.
he also has thinktank affiliations. when you cannot answer the question who is somebody, who do they represent, that question becomes much more difficult to answer. they may be someone who has played all of these undisclosed roles. >> people on television, in the end, stop pla themselves on television. >> sarah palin to my you will remember the -- sarah palin, you will remember the way that tsa is playing her convincingly. -- that tina fey is playing her convincingly. of what happens when sarah palin goes on saturday night live? she is playing sarah palin as
portrayed by tina fey. people are playing on television. this goes in support of trut hiness. you asked me about social anthropology. you think about setting small town america, or small town anywhere -- and i grew up in a small town >> where? >> the central kansas. the essence is that everybody knows everybody else's business. when there is a new player, you know what people's reputations are, but we do not know that when it comes to the larger public theater. and it is harder to sort out
these things. >> what do we do about all of this? >> we have to begin to understand how it works today, that things have really changed. our society and our culture have changed dramatically in the past 2230 years, and we have to understand how it has changed -- in the past 20 to 30 years. and we have to understand how long has changed. when we think about what other agendas might be out there, what other roles might that person be filling, then we began -- begin to understand how this system of power works. >> good luck to you. it is a fascinating book. you are a fascinating person. did anyone ever tell you to get a little more energetic? >> [laughter] thank you very much.
>> the book is called "shawano elite" and the -- the book is qxand our janine wedel guest has janine -- and our guest has been janine wedel. cheers. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut. from washington d.c., this has been "white house chronicle"it weekly analysis with the news and a sense of humor featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests. this program will be appearing